Red Hot Rhythm & Blues (1987)

THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

 “I wanna put my winter life away, Summertime I need a sunny day…”

This would be the 6th and final studio album by Diana Ross while signed to RCA records; the relatively short tenure began with 1981’s Why Do Fools Fall In Love and, for the most part, continued successfully through the decade.  Three of the six albums went gold (or better), and Miss Ross scored six top 20 pop hits and nine top 20 R&B singles (including this album’s “Dirty Looks”).  Certainly this is not a bad showing for seven years of recordings; most artists would love to have that kind of track record.  The problem for Diana Ross is that her work was (and still is) being judged against her ridiculously successful Motown years (1961-1981), during which time she hit #1 on the pop charts a whopping 18 times.  Had Miss Ross’s RCA output ended with a smash…

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“I Will Survive” Billboard Article (2/17/96)

THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

U.S. MUST WAIT FOR DIANA ROSS CLIP read a headline in the February 17, 1996 issue ofBillboardmagazine, and the accompanying article provides a telling insight into the obstacles facing Diana Ross in the 1990s.

Diana Ross I Will Survive Article 2-17-96The “clip” being referred to is the music video for “I Will Survive,” a song from Diana’s 1995 albumTake Me Higher. Miss Ross shot the video in West Hollywood, dancing on a gay pride parade float with drag superstar RuPaul and a bevy of Ross impersonators and fans; she even famously crowd dives at the end, something I’ve heard she decided to do on the spot. The video was daring enough that it began to gain attention in the media, as noted in the Billboard article; Ross also startedpromoting the song, performing it on the Super Bowl halftime show and in a hilarious and well-received skit on “The Tonight Show with Jay…

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“You Can’t Hurry Love” Billboard Ad (8/13/66)

THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

Of the many Supremes ads I’ve recently found in back issues of Billboard magazine, this one has got to be my favorite.  This beautiful full-page, color advertisement ran in the August 13, 1966 issue of the magazine, promoting the recently-released single “You Can’t Hurry Love.”  The song was listed as a “National Breakout” in that same issue, and was making its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at #66.

The fact that the song’s title appears to be racing across the page is appropriate; the following week, “You Can’t Hurry Love” had shot from #66 to #28 on the chart, and the week after that it leapt to #7.  From there it climbed up to #4 and, finally, “You Can’t Hurry Love” settled into the top spot in the issue dated September 10.  It was the seventh #1 hit for The Supremes, and would soon be followed by number eight, “You Keep…

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Silk Electric (1982)

THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

“Right or wrong, I will stand up like a tree, happy or sad, good or bad, I Am Me…”

Diana Ross must have been in a really good place emotionally in 1982; she’d just scored the biggest single of her career (“Endless Love” with Lionel Richie) and her first album as an RCA Records artist — Why Do Fools Fall In Love — was a platinum-selling hit featuring two top 10 singles.  More importantly, she’d executive produced the album herself and co-written one of the songs, finally allowing herself the creative control that she’d clearly been craving for quite some time.  The fact that the album was a success had to be major validation for the singer, and probably inspired her to go even further in terms of artistic experimentation for her next album.

And that brings us to Silk Electric, which is again produced by Miss Ross and this time features…

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“Strange Fruit” (Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 2000 Induction Ceremony)

THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

Diana Ross Strange Fruit

One of Diana Ross’s most startling television performances occurred in March of 2000, during the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.  The event was broadcast on VH1, and featured Miss Ross inducting Billie Holiday into the “Early Influence” category.  The choice of Miss Ross for this task makes perfect sense; the singer won an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings The Blues, and her recordings of Holiday classics resulted in a #1 album.  And as a member of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame herself (inducted as a Supreme in 1988), it was a nice full-circle moment as Diana Ross publicly acknowledged a woman who clearly had so much influence on her career.

During the televised ceremony, Miss Ross performed a sterling rendition of Holiday’s “God Bless The Child,” a song written by the jazz legend in 1939.  This extended performance once again showcased…

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Mary Wilson Remembers Dr. King

THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — here’s another look at the interview I conducted with Mary Wilson, during which she talked about Dr. King and his relationship with Motown.  Yes, when I’m not blogging about Diana Ross and The Supremes, I’m a television reporter…and this assignment was certainly the highlight of my career.

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On January 14 Diana Ross made her final appearance as part of The Supremes…

Today In Pop

On January 14, 1970 Diana Ross made her final appearance as part of The Supremes while performing in Las Vegas at The Frontier Hotel. During the show, Ross announced to the crowd her replacement, Jean Terrell. After Ross departed, The Supremes went onto garnering seven more Top 40 hits. 

The Supremes performing at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in 1969 Las Vegas News BureauThe Supremes performing at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas
Las Vegas News Bureau

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